City eyes changes to parking regulations
By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
The Hays Area Planning Commission met Monday for a public hearing to consider revising parking regulations.
Jesse Rohr, superintendent of planning, inspection and enforcement, said there is a more practical method to determine parking allocation.
Rohr said existing parking rules dictate a business must have at least one parking space for every 100 square feet of its site. The proposed changes would give the city flexibility to set the amount of spaces as the total number of the business's employees and expected customers, he said.
Rohr said the new plan financially helps business owners and consumers. Property owners would pay a smaller stormwater runoff fee and pass on less cost to customers, he said.
"If you have to buy a quarter of an acre for land you'll never use, there's definitely an impact on the property owner, which will in turn ultimately affect the customer," Rohr said.
Rohr said he believes the city has adequate parking, but excessive allocated parking can lead to unnecessary costs for property owners, wasted space and a landscape not aesthetically pleasing. Abundant parking also discourages people from using alternative forms of transportation such as walking, bicycles and public transit, Rohr said.
If a business wished to upgrade its facilities, its parking situation would have to comply with the projected occupancy, Rohr said. A new business that wanted to open in a vacant commercial spot would have to choose one that has suitable parking or build new spaces, Rohr said.
The Hays City Commission will see the proposal during its Nov. 7 work session, Rohr said.
Rohr also previewed an upcoming city project that will begin in 2014 and take up to 18 months. City officials have budgeted $150,000 to hire a consultant and examine updating zoning and subdivision regulations, Rohr said.
The regulations were set in 1973, and there are new zoning trends nationwide that might improve the area, Rohr said. Mixing residential and commercial zones is one idea that will be considered, Rohr said.